NewsEU poised to limit Russian and Belarus grain imports amid protests

EU poised to limit Russian and Belarus grain imports amid protests

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen
Images source: © Getty Images | Anadolu
12:17 PM EDT, March 19, 2024
This week, the European Commission is poised to propose restrictions on grain imports from Russia and Belarus. Yet, these measures will not be formal sanctions, as achieving unanimity among member states for such actions is unattainable. Instead, the plan involves implementing alternative trade restrictions.

A project within the European Commission has been developed to introduce limitations on the import of Russian and Belarusian agricultural products into the European Union. Given the lack of consensus among EU countries, Brussels aims to impose different trade restrictions.

As reported by the Financial Times, the EC is expected to unveil these measures this week, corroborating earlier information from RMF24.

This move is influenced by farmers' protests and negotiations by Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who discussed the issue last week with EC President Ursula von der Leyen at the European People's Party summit in Bucharest.

According to RMF24, Brussels is cautious about imposing a complete food import embargo from Russia into the Union due to potential repercussions, such as price hikes. Thus, the approach will focus on setting quantitative limits similar to those previously applied only to Ukrainian grain.

"An embargo on Russian grain is necessary for several reasons. It sends a significant message to Ukrainians, baffled by the blockade on their grain. In contrast, Russian and Belarusian grain enters freely," Jacek Piechota, President of the Polish Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce, told money.pl.

Despite these concerns, Russian grain continues to enter the European Union. Official trade data from 2022 shows that EU countries imported 970,000 tons of grain from Russia. Eurostat figures for 2023 reveal a surge to 1.54 million tons.
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